Workers’ compensation for the casual worker
The title of this particular article might confuse you. Are casual workers individuals who are not required to show up for work in their Sunday best? Alternatively, are they people who take their jobs less than seriously? What are casual workers and how does workers’ compensation law apply to them?
What is a Casual Worker?
The New Jersey State Statutes provide a definition of a casual worker as it applies to eligibility for workers’ compensation benefits. Specifically, casual workers are individuals who become employed “ in connection with the employer’s business, as employment the occasion for which arises by chance or is purely accidental.”
What are some examples of casual workers? Your neighbor may decide to help move your sofa to another place in the living room. In the process, he pulls out his back. Does this make him your employee? No. It was a one-time occurrence and not related to your business.
Homeowners Insurance and Workers’ Compensation
Did you know that all New Jersey homeowner insurance policies contain mandatory nominal workers’ compensation coverage? Many homeowners elect to subscribe to additional workers’ compensation insurance for regular employment of housekeepers, gardeners or babysitters.
Obviously, outside contractors who are expected to maintain their own workers’ compensation insurance. Be aware that housecleaners who clean more than one home may be considered independent contractors if their work is not restricted to individual homeowners.
When are workers’ compensation benefits accessed from homeowners insurance? Those who are primarily employed by resident owners can expect to receive benefits under these types of policy. Of course, there is a requirement for the injuries to occur in the course of employment. However, if a homeowner retained you as a handyman, your medical bills may be covered under another portion of the homeowner’s policy. It is best to seek legal counsel to review issues particular to your case.
Example of a Casual Employee
You can get a clearer understanding of the definition of a casual employee by looking at the case of Cruz v. Ivania Perez Alonzo, A-0444-11T4 (App. Div. May 9, 2012). In this matter, the homeowner’s uncle retained the services of someone to help remodel the house. Basically, Mr. Cruz did odd jobs around the residence, while maintaining outside employment. He did not have his own remodeling business. Unfortunately, Mr. Cruz was severely injured while working for Ms. Alonzo. The Appellate Division judges were presented with this case when the compensation judge ruled that Mr. Cruz was either a casual employee or independent contractor.
Upon review, the Appellate Division found the Court found that Mr. Cruz was a casual worker, as he was only charged with doing odd jobs. The homeowner was not his employer and his claim was denied.
This information is provided for educational purposes and is not intended to be legal advice. If you have been injured, it is important to understand your options. Contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone to understand your legal rights.